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“O Come, Wisdom”


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For years we have sung “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” as part of our Advent journey toward Christmas.  Most of us sang this traditional Advent carol without realizing the context and meaning of the references in the hymn.  In the mid-19th century, John Mason Neale and Henry Sloan Coffin translated the ancient “O Antiphons” and placed them in a metrical setting with a 15th-century French chant tune.  The “O Antiphons” were sung before the canticle of Vespers (the Magnificat) and each stanza built upon a biblical name prophesied for Christ.  We begin our Advent series singing and reflecting upon the first of these antiphons (“O Come, Wisdom”) as we build toward the joyful fulfillment in Christmas.